Monday, October 21, 2013

Be a volunteer!

Sometimes you need something to make you appreciate the little things in life. This semester I am taking a Volunteer and Civic Response class. In this class we are required to do 80 hours of community service with a non-profit organization given to us by our teacher. My organization is Arts 'n Autism.

Arts 'n Autism is a non-profit organization that provides services to children from preschool to young adults with autism in the Tuscaloosa area. The program has supervised visual and performing arts activities for the children. It also gives the parents/ caregivers of the children some time to breathe when they are the round the clock providers.

While working two-days a week with Arts 'n Autism I have learned so much about myself and about these wonderful kids in the program. Each day that I can be with these kids brings a bit of joy to my heart! AND they bring sunshine to everyone they are around. Some days can be harder than others. We have runners and non-verbal kids who, like any normal kid, don't exactly want to do as told.

All in all, I have learned that no matter how bad my day may seem I live a normal life with relatively little health and wellness problems. I am blessed.

I encourage you to find an organization near you that you would be willing to volunteer at. Sending a check sometimes fulfills the needs of some need but being hands on will give you a new outlook on life!!! Create sunshine but being a volunteer!

To learn more about Arts 'n Autism click HERE!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

DIY Alabama deco mesh wreath

With just days until Alabama takes on Virginia Tech at the Georgia Dome, I know everyone is anxiously awaiting that loud "ROLLLLLLLLL TIDE ROLL" that sounds the beginning of football season! While you're waiting on August 31st, get in the spirit and make yourself a beautiful wreath to support the Crimson Tide! 


  • 24" wire craft wreath (if you don't want a large wreath I suggest getting the 16")
  • Deco Mesh - two colors of your choice and one grey (It seems to work better with a solid color on the second row and a fun pattern on the outer row!)
  • pipe cleaners - grey and other (try to match them to your deco mesh)
  • Googly eyes 
  • Craft Glue
  • Scissors 
** optional - ribbon

 Step 1
Take your pipe cleaners and tie one about every two inches. On my craft wreath there were bars around every two inches so that is what I used as my guide. Once you have done the full pipe cleaners cut 6 in half and tie them in between each full pipe cleaner as shown above. 

 Step 2
Take the patterned deco mes and bunch the ends together tying it off with one of the full pipe cleaners on the wreath. Bubble out about 5 inches of deco mesh, bunch it together and tie it at the next full pipe cleaner. Continue until entire wreath is finished. 

Step 3
Take your solid deco mesh and repeat step 2 but bunch at each pipe cleaner on the wreath. Make sure when you bubble the deco mesh out it goes towards the inside and not up. On this row it is better to act like you are tying a bow when you bubble. 

Now that you have the base of your wreath made it is time to work on your elephant. 

Now, the elephant can get frustrating so just relax! You have to play with it until it works. 

Step one (top right): To make the ears take about a foot and a half of grey deco mesh, fold the ends in to where they over lap. bunch the middle together and tie it off with a silver or grey pipe cleaner.
Step two (middle right): To make the head take a separate foot of deco mesh take one end and fold the ends over to make the top of the head. 

Step three (bottom right corner): use half of a pipe cleaner and run it through the folded end of the deco mesh to secure it together. 

Step four (big picture): use a pipe cleaner to attach the head to the ears.

Step Five: Roll another foot of deco mesh so that the top will fit into the nose of the existing elephant making it get smaller as it goes. Almost like a funnel. Attach the bottom half of the trunk to the top half with small pieces of pipe cleaners. 

Step Six (bottom left): Glue the googly eyes onto the face. 

Finally: Using pipe cleaners attach the elephant to your wreath and voilĂ  your wreath is complete! 

You can play around with the deco mesh options but no matter what you choose your wreath is guaranteed to be super cute and worthy of the Crimson Tide!

Here's to another awesome football season and hopefully a win in Pasadena for number 16! 
"Remember the Rose Bowl we'll win it!" 

Roll Tide!
-Kelsey Ann

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Country Chic DIY Wreath

Have you ever seen cute wreaths and wondered where people got them or thought “I’m a broke college kid I can’t buy this!” Well I have the perfect solution to the problem. Do it yourself! Split the cost with a roommate and personalize the look with your style!

I decided to make this Country Chic Wreath for my sweet mommy’s birthday and she loved it!

Ready for a trip to Hobby Lobby or your local arts and crafts store?! Here is what you need:

  • · 16’ Natural Branch Wreath
  • · Multi Surface acrylic craft paint (color of your choice)
  • · Finishing paint (clear or glitter, to add sparkle to your world!)
  • · Wooden letters or words (you could do a cross, the letter of your last name, etc.)
  • · A bundle of fake flowers (of your choice, I used cream gardenias)
  • · Burlap ribbon
  • · Burlap string
  • · Scissors 
  • · Paint brushes

Here we go!!!

Step one: Paint your wooden pieces to the color your heart desires.

When you pick out a color, it is my advice to keep in mind the color of your front door! If green is your favorite color and your front door is red, then it will look like Christmas! 

I would do two coats of paint. With my words by the time I had painted all of them the first one was dry, so I did the coats back to back but you may have to let yours dry for a bit. 

** Notice how I recycled my lovely pizza box! Whoops, there went my diet!

Step Two: Wrap your wreath

While your second coat of paint dries wrap your wreath with the burlap ribbon. You can wrap it as close together or as far apart as you want. Let your free spirit soar! I safety pinned my end piece of ribbon on to one of the pieces that was wrapped to make sure it didn’t come undone. Make sure to leave enough ribbon for your bow!

Step Three: Simple and easy. Paint the finish on your wooden pieces.

Step Four: Flower work!

Cut the stems off of your flowers. I would say leave an inch and a half. I used 5 bundles of gardenias on my wreath. Once you cut them you put the stem into a secure place in the branches of the wreath.

Step Five: Placing the wooden pieces

Once your wooden piece have dried it’s time to place them. I used burlap string to tie them on to the wreath in my desired locations so that it read “Faith, Hope, Love” I also painted the ribbon that crossed the words the same color so it blended. 

Final Step: Hanging Bow

Make a bow with the rest of your burlap ribbon but make sure you keep at least three inches on both ends so that you can attach it to your wreath to hang it! To figure out how to tie a really pretty bow I searched it in YouTube. (I know, I know, I took the easy way out but some things are hard!)

Your Country Chic wreath is ready to be hung! Be sure to watch the people walk by your door and do a double take at the masterpiece you've created!

-Kelsey Ann

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Dream A Dream You Never Knew You Had

For my internship this summer, one of my tasks was to find happy news because lets face it most of the news is not happy. Along with the happy news I had to add my own segment to what we call a "Good News Break." This is what it came out to be and this is what I try to remember every single day!


I have always been a dreamer of many dreams and sometimes I took harsh criticism because I worked hard trying to make my dreams reality.

One thing I knew about dreams was that if I wanted my dreams to come true I would have to make them happen. What I didn’t know about dreams is that while working towards one dream, a new dream that you never thought you would have came develop.

A year ago I dreamed of graduating then going into the Sports Management graduate program at the University of Alabama. After graduate school I wanted to pursue a career in the NFL or college football. Today, those goals have been completely changed…for the better.

The Story 

While sitting in my first class of the Spring 2013 semester my teacher tried to intimidate us by putting on a power point presentation of students that have “made it” out of the Advertising/Public Relations department at the University of Alabama. Little did I know this presentation was not going to intimidate me but it was going to change my life.

He presented a student that had interned at the Grand Ole Opry. Right then it hit me… country music. It was like a neon sign was flashing in my face saying “THIS IS YOUR CAREER!” The dream of a sports public relations job was completely out of my mind. All I could concentrate on was country music.

I got out of class and immediately called my mom. I told her that I was going to Nashville this summer if I could get an internship. She laughed and asked me why the sports world was no longer in the picture. I honestly could not even explain it. I went back to my apartment to start looking for internships.

When I was offered the internship position at PLA Media the answer was without a doubt, YES! I knew that this opportunity was going to be life changing but I did not know the true impact it was going to make on my life. In a matter of months I have come to love the city, the job and the people I work with more than I believed was possible. I could not be more blessed and content than I am right now!

My New Dream!

Now, my dream is to graduate in May of 2014 with a degree in Public Relations and move straight back to Nashville to work within country music! I never imagined this is where I would be but my unknown dreams had bigger plans for my life!

For You!

Right now, make yourself a promise that you will never stop chasing your dreams! Always remember that even if your dreams change you have not failed! There are bigger and better dreams that you never knew you had coming your way!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Side-by-Side Hideaways

Coming to Nashville? Want somewhere unique to grab a lunch or dinner? I've got two suggestions that happen to sit side by side in the heart and soul of Music City!

Connected by bricks and mortar this one building is separated into two hideaways that will make you want to come back for more! 

The Slider House and Soulshine Pizza Factory can be found on Division Street, just blocks away from Music Row and the campus' of Vanderbilt and Belmont. In my opinion you can't go wrong with either place! So, if you will take my suggestion to try both you won't be sorry! 

The Slider House

If you are looking for a burger place The Slider House is the place to go! Open 7 days a week from 11 am - 3 am, your sure to find sometime to enjoy this up and coming treasure! 

 A slider, in case you didn't know, is a mini burger!! Not only are they tiny and cute they taste AMAZING as well! I first experienced The Slider House when the company I am interning with decided to get a "American" meal in honor of The 4th of July! Whats more American than hamburgers and fries!?

Now with sliders you may want to get more than one. Which is GREAT because you can have two kind of burgers! Monday-Friday there is an awesome lunch special for $7.99 which includes two sliders and a side car. The portions are moderate and well worth the price! They also have GREAT options for sides other than french fries! My favorite burger that I have had has been the 'Old Hickory'.

The rustic chic atmosphere here is amazing! With the two garage doors open you get a feel of being outside without being outside. 

Rankings (out of 5):
Food: 4
Atmosphere: 5
Price: $$ (Moderate $11-$30)

Check out their menu and website here, visit them on Facebook or like them on twitter.

 Soulshine Pizza Factory

The new and improved Mellow Mushroom of the pizza world, Soulshine is sure to give you an all around great visit! Located right next door to The Slider House, this two story eatery is one you must visit! Open 7 days a week from 11 am to 9:30 pm and on Thursday-Saturday til 10:30 pm this local joint will have you tapping your toe at the singers and eating the last bite of crust you always leave on the plate. 

The pizza at soul shine is unique and so tasty! My friends and I split The Jacksonian and didn't leave a crumb behind! The thin crust and cheese were cooked to perfect. Luckily, we got to enjoy a night of singing rounds by songwriters while we let the GIANT fan keep us cool on the upper level outside patio. 

The atmosphere at Soulshine is one of a kind and I personally loved every second of it! The first floor has a jazzy feel while the upstairs feels like a mix between a patio party and a sports bar! The view isn't that bad either! 

Rankings (out of 5)
Food: 5
Atmosphere: 5
Price: $$ (Moderate $11-$30)

Check out their menu and website here, visit them on Facebook and like them on Twitter.


I have told you as much as I can without taking you to these places myself! So, next time you visit Nashville enjoy the non-touristy dining that Music City has to offer! 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Roller Derby: Jammers, Blockers & Pivots, OH MY!

Sometimes you need to do something out of the ordinary. Well, Saturday was my out of ordinary day! Instead of having a night out on the town, a couple of friends and I decided to head down to Nashville's Municipal Auditorium and watch the Nashville Rollergirls do their thing! If you have never been to a roller derby... YOU ARE MISSING OUT! These girls are hard hitting, low skating, power house athletes!

 The first thing I noticed as the announcer introduced the Music City All-Stars was the unique nick-names that the skaters had. "Ann T. Histamine" and "Britches N' Hoes" were two of my favorites.

Now, I have to admit, I was completely lost when the "bout" first began. I didn't know how they scored, why one person had a star on their helmet or why the "pack" was staying in one place the whole time. I was confused to say the least.

So to make things a little easier on you, here are your roller derby "need-to-know" items:

Roller Derby Basics:

 The Bout: A bout is the entire event. A bout is split into two 30-minute periods. The 30-minute periods are broken into 2-minute 'jams'. 

Jams:  The jam is basically a time for the teams to earn points. It is almost like having a shot clock in basketball. Between jams there is a 30-second break for substitution skaters to rest in their starting

The Pack: The pack is the defense of derby world. It is the largest group of blockers that skate within 10 feet of each other. 

Who's Who?

  • Jammer: To identify the jammer, look for the skater with a star on their helmet. The jammer is the only one who can score points, they do this by lapping opposing team members.

  • Blocker: To identify a blocker, look for the skaters that have plane helmets. The blocker helps their jammer through the pack and prevents the opposition jammer from scoring by blocks or "body checks."

Basic Gameplay: 

Like most sports when the first whistle blows the pack begins to move. When two shorts whistles are blown the jammers are released.

Blockers try to stop the other teams jammer while trying to get their own jammer through. The first jammer to pass through the pack legally and in-bounds becomes the "lead jammer." 

Jammers score one point for each blocker they pass after the initial pass has been made. Jammers can also earn "jammer lap points" by lapping the opposite jammer (5 points). 

The lead jammer can choose to end the jam strategically by touching her hands to her hips repeatedly. The jam ends when four short whistles are blown. 

Penalties: Major penalties will earn a skater 60-seconds in the penalty box and their team must skate without them. If a skater gets 4 minor infractions they will also get 60-seconds in the penalty box. 

Before each bout, skaters and their safety gear get inspected by referees .

Now, that you have an idea about what is going on it is time to cheer on your favorite rollergirls!  Once we got up close and personal in the "Suicide Seating", this is seating right on the outskirts of the track where all the action happens, we quickly became big fans of one specific skater! 

I think I can speak for my group when I say "Lady Fury" is the beast of the team! This 5ft3 (that is also her number) hot pink bandanna and ripped fishnet pantie hoes wearin' girl may not seem harmful but don't let her small stature fool you. She isn't afraid to throw a shoulder into her opponent or give a little attitude to someone who tires to get in her way. All I know is I would not want to be up against all the fury she has going on!

My first experience at the roller derby won't be my last.  Here are some pictures of the "out-of-the-ordinary" adventure I had!

So, next time you want to have an "out-of-the-ordinary" night out try something new! See if there is a local roller derby team near you or if you are brave enough, see if there is a rec league roller derby team that you could join!


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Here We Go!

Hey Y'all!

I've contemplated over starting a blog for a long time now and decided "better now than never."

As I am wrapping up my amazing summer in Nashville and starting my senior year of college, there are bound to be stories and happenings that just need to be recorded and shared! I will be reminiscing on the memories I made while interning in Music City this summer and sharing new memories that come about during the many events that take place at the University of Alabama and  in my life.

With birthdays, football games, road trips, family events, school & concerts all in the future I am sure this blog with be one of variety and spice. Now it is time for me to start "Creating Sunshine" and spread a little to you!
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